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Critical care specialist joins ‘flying doctors’

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airambulance1A LLANELLI-BASED critical care practitioner has joined an innovative programme of ‘flying doctors’ that are now caring for Wales’ most critically ill patients.

Tracy Phipps has been recruited as part of EMRTS (Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service) Cymru, which sees consultants join critical care practitioners on Wales Air Ambulance missions for the first time.

Having completed a rigorous training schedule to prepare for joining the air ambulance’s missions, Tracy is one of 19 critical care consultants and 12 critical care practitioners recruited by the scheme.

The 44-year-old, who spent nine years in the army and served in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq, Germany, Cyprus and China, applied to take part in the EMRTS Cymru programme because she sees it as a fantastic opportunity to contribute to healthcare provision in Wales.

Tracy said: “I am particularly looking forward to helping to ensure that most areas in Wales are able to access top quality care regardless of location. I grew up in a farming community near Aberaeron and it was fairly isolated in terms of emergency provision. I think it will be a great step forward for us in Wales to have this service.”

A s well as deploying doctors on the air ambulance’s fleet of helicopters, EMRTS Cymru has also introduced new technology and equipment pioneered by the armed forces and developments which are a first for helicopter emergency medical service operations in the UK.

EMRTS Cymru has been developed in partnership between the Welsh Government, the Wales Air Ambulance charity, NHS Wales, the Welsh Blood Service, and the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The Welsh Government is providing £2.868m from 2015-16 to support EMRTS Cymru’s critical care team. The Wales Air Ambulance continues to rely on charitable donations to raise the £6m required each year to keep the air ambulances flying.

The ‘flying doctors’, which have already completed more than 100 missions since starting operations at the end of April, were greeted by the First Minister Carwyn Jones AM at an official launch ceremony this week.

The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “The official launch of EMRTS Cymru today marks a major milestone for the NHS in Wales. The new doctor-led critical care teams will transform our ability to provide the very best care to the most critically-ill patients in Wales. They provide patients in remote and rural areas of Wales with rapid access to the skills of a consultant in emergency or intensive care medicine who are equipped to provide life-saving and specialist critical care.”

Angela Hughes, chief executive of Wales Air Ambulance, said: “Securing consultants on board our aircraft is another significant step towards our aim of providing the most advanced air ambulance service in the world. Providing a world-class emergency care service is of great importance to the people of Wales, particularly given the number of rural communities we have.”

These developments will save the lives of many people in urgent need of assistance.

“We have received incredible support from our fundraisers since first launching in 2001, and continue to rely entirely on charitable donations to raise more than £6m each year to keep Wales’ helicopters flying.”

Tracy will work shifts with the air ambulance alongside her normal working week with local health boards.

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Restrictions ease further with caution, says County Council

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WITH restrictions easing further, both residents and visitors are reminded to enjoy Ceredigion safely and responsibly.

Wales will move into alert level 2 on Monday, 17 May, Welsh Government has announced.

The changes to the coronavirus restrictions, which will come into force from Monday 17 May include:

·         Indoor hospitality can re-open – 6 people from up to 6 households (not including children under 11) can book

·         All holiday accommodation can re-open fully

·         Entertainment venues, including cinemas, indoor-play centres and areas, amusement arcades, and theatres can re-open. Cinemas, theatres concert halls and sports grounds can sell food and drink as long as it is consumed in a seated area for watching the performance

·         Indoor visitor attractions, including museums and galleries can re-open

·         Up to 30 people can take part in organised indoor activities and up to 50 people in organised outdoor activities. This includes wedding receptions and wakes.

International travel will resume from Monday 17 May but extra safeguards will be put in place for people returning from some countries to prevent coronavirus re-entering Wales. A traffic light system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red. This means people living in Wales will be able to travel to a small number of foreign destinations without the need to quarantine on their return. Mandatory quarantine for countries not on the green list remains in place.

From Monday 24 May, a paper-based vaccination status will be available for people in Wales who have had 2 doses of vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof.

However, the Welsh Government continues to advise people to only travel abroad for essential purposes.

Caution still needs to remain as the Coronavirus is still with us. Ceredigion residents and visitors must keep following the guidance for Covid-19 infection rates to remain low. Keeping a social distance, wearing a face covering and washing hands regularly are vital to keep our county safe.

Enjoy Ceredigion safely and responsibly.  

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Safe visiting opportunities in Care Homes being put into place

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FOLLOWING Welsh Government’s announcement of moving to Alert Level 2 on Monday, 17 May, families of Council-run Care Homes are reassured that further enhanced visiting opportunities are currently being reviewed and progressed.

The Care Homes will be contacting the designated visitor of those residents who are currently cared for in bed to arrange indoor risk assessed safe visits from Monday 17 May onwards.

Visitors and residents will be offered options regarding their preferred location for the visit. This includes safe visiting options (for example a Pod) or outdoors (weather permitting). The length of time for visits will be extended.

As part of this important piece of work, questionnaires will be sent to families. This will ensure that residents have their voice and wishes centrally captured and used to support with planning and implementing any changes.

The safety of residents, staff and families will be central to all of the visiting opportunities that will be put in place.

All the Care Homes are looking forward to welcoming families back.

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Cllr Paul Hinge elected Chairman of Ceredigion County Council

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COUNCILLOR Paul Hinge has been elected as the Chairman of Ceredigion County Council for 2021-2022 during the Annual Meeting held virtually on Friday 14 May 2021.

This concludes Councillor Gareth Davies’ term of office, where he has steered the Council through an unprecedented time in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following being elected as Chairman, Councillor Paul Hinge accepted the position and addressed the Council saying that becoming Chairman of the Council was a great honour. 

Originally from Cardigan, Councillor Paul Hinge now lives in Bow Street and represents Tirymynach ward on Ceredigion County Council. He is also the Council’s Armed Forces Champion and has campaigned extensively for veteran rights over the years as a veteran himself.

Councillor Paul Hinge, Chairman of Ceredigion County Council, said: “As a child born in Cardigan a number of decades ago now, I could never have envisaged then that one day I would be taking one of the highest elected civic roles in my home county as I have done so here today; this is a very proud moment in my life. I would like to thank my fellow councillors for entrusting me with this role for the forthcoming municipal year. I would also like to give a special thank you to Councillor Gareth Davies for his unstinting work in such difficult times in this last year, it’s been an honour to have been his Vice Chairman. I look forward now to being Ceredigion County Council’s Chairman in the year ahead”.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, added: “I would like to congratulate Councillor Paul Hinge on his election as County Chairman and wish him well for the coming year. I would also like to thank Councillor Gareth Davies for steering the Council’s virtual meetings so smoothly and skilfully over the last year.”

Councillor Ifan Davies from Lledrod ward was elected as the Council’s Vice-Chairman. The Reverend Richard Lewis was appointed as the Chairman’s Chaplain for 2021-2022.

Questions for the Former Chairman

Councillor Gareth Davies, Llanbadarn Fawr Padarn ward, was the Chairman of Ceredigion County Council during 2020-2021. Here we look back at his year which has been very different in terms of all of the restrictions and adjustments.

What was it like to be the Chairman of Ceredigion County Council during the pandemic?

It was quite an unusual experience compared to previous years. Of course, nobody foresaw how the pandemic would affect our lives, nor how long it would last. We have all had to adjust the way we live and work. It was a bit of a disappointment that I did not have the opportunity to represent the county in any official events during my time. As an individual who has links with the Tregaron area, it was also sad to hear that the National Eisteddfod would be postponed. However, having said that, I’m extremely proud that I live in Ceredigion where the effects of the pandemic have been amongst the best in the United Kingdom.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was learning how to chair a virtual meeting. With over fifty people in attendance, it was not possible to see everyone on the call at the same time. Everyone else had to learn as well, and, as a result, the meetings took a litter longer than usual. I hope that the Council members feel that I have been a fair Chairman and that everyone had the opportunity to speak if they wished to. Everyone is coping well with the system by now.

What was the best thing about your experience?

I consider myself very privileged, and I was delighted that the elected members of Ceredigion County Council gave me the opportunity and trusted me to be Chairman. The year did not turn out as I had expected. But the safety and the health of Ceredigion’s residents is far more important than anything else.

What is your message for the new Chairman?

I very much hope that the new Chairman will have the opportunity to do the role justice, and I wish him well for the coming year.

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